As business leaders we have all spent time postulating what the next “disruptor” might be and where it might come from. A “game changer”. Something that will create for us a “paradigm shift” in the business ecosystem. Well, COVID-19 has certainly achieved all those benchmarks, though with none of the desired upsides we originally had in mind for the concept! Whilst we believe its origins to be in China, the virus has swept at enormous speed across the globe with a consummate disrespect for international borders like a tyrannical version of the “invisible hand” first described by the renowned economist Adam Smith in his magnus opus “The Wealth of Nations”1. Only this time, it was acting with malicious intent, toppling corporate empires as it went leaving behind it a wake of destruction and uncertainty in the economy. For most organisations demand has dried up as customers tighten their belts, operations have been suspended as they go into lockdown, people have been furloughed or lost forever to the job market, the supply base is falling into terminal disrepair and the best laid strategies, plans and aspirations of corporate executives in every sector lay in tatters before their eyes.
Nevertheless, the global business community is in the main a strong, tough, resilient and resourceful group. The UK has been on enforced lockdown since 23rd March 2020. Now, with the Government encouraging us to return to work, we must face the fact that doing so is not going to be like returning from our traditional annual vacation. Things are different. Very different. And will be so for some time. Markets we thought we knew like the back of our hand are now completely different. Customers, or at least those that will survive, will choose to organise themselves differently to meet the changed circumstances in the markets they address. Suppliers will be different and how we work with them to fulfil demand will be different. So, in consequence, our strategies and how we organise ourselves needs to be different, too. The starting point on the journey to recovery for most organisations will be a balance sheet that is undoubtedly less well balanced than it was before lockdown; and a profit and loss account that is now unequivocally more red than black. Welcome to what we colloquially call the “new normal”.
So, as we emerge from under the veil of COVID-19 how can a business create a workable roadmap to return it and its staff to a full-trading position as quickly and effectively as possible with the minimum risk given the constraints it now faces? All this in an environment that will without doubt be more aggressively competitive than before and where only the fittest and most prepared will survive. Where will you place your bets!?
"Never let a good crisis go to waste"
- Winston Spencer Churchill
Whilst devastating enough, the process of lockdown is nowhere near as complicated and difficult to navigate as that of returning a business to full trading status in the risky and uncertain times of the “new normal” that now surrounds us. The hallmarks of success will not be forged by businesses re-engaging a dramatically changed market with the same old strategy but carrying slightly less overhead through having done a simple cost-cutting/job reduction exercise. That would be suicidal. Success is no longer to be found in trimming your course, but in changing your trajectory. Now is the time for a fundamental business review. In truth, it has probably been long overdue. But there was never a good time to “stop the clock” and do it before as there are always competitors willing to steal your market share and there was always lots of other profitable work to do. COVID-19 stopped the clock for everyone on 23rd March 2020. When the clock re-starts again history will record the winners and losers; and it will be clear who were those who ignored this advice and failed to use these next few weeks wisely to holistically re-evaluate their trading position.
Here at Centigo, we have 300+ consultants who are highly qualified, well trained and deeply experienced across a wide range of industries that can be deployed rapidly to help you put your business back to work in a safe, structured and compliant manner. Members of our team have successfully helped many businesses, large and small, through this kind of process before and can bring to the table well tried and tested approaches that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. We can help you: -
- Analyse and help you understand your changed market environment.
- Test and re-baseline your strategy for fit, form and function against the requirements of the “new normal”
- Measure your fitness for the journey to success using our think/build/operate/sustain business model evaluation and creation toolkit.
- Understand the strategy, people, process, digital and technology enablers you can leverage to gain competitive advantage and address your changed needs and the needs of your customers in their changed markets.
- Support you in ramping up your business and right-sizing it for your new trajectory.
- Help review your current supplier readiness/supplier management processes using well-proven, advanced diagnostic tools to identify and correct risks, issues, gaps, exclusions, points of friction, etc.
- Help you to create a detailed, robust “return to market” action plan and help you to put in place any corrective actions resulting from the diagnostic assessment.
- Support you and your people through the “return to market” ramp-up with any necessary procedural, process and cultural changes that you will of necessity have to make going forwards.
- Support your business after ramp-up to ensure you have access to the necessary trained, experienced professionals who can quickly answer your questions and help de-risk and stabilize your journey.
Getting back to work will need the application of different skills and expertise depending on your market sector. Businesses reach out to and rely upon Centigo every day when they realise their changed circumstances now dictate informed, authoritative thinking is required because “failure is not an option”. To find out how Centigo can help you successfully return to competitiveness quickly and safely please feel free to contact us.
1. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" Adam Smith, 1776